Comment on _Insiderhighere...
Although I have not yet taught at an online McUniversity, I've taught blended and in-person courses at for-profit universities. Usually the content is haphazardly put together and the harried administrators do not have the time to check on what an instructor is doing in class. An adjunct's "currency" is made in avoiding student complaints made to administration. But if an adjunct tries teaching non-mainstream content or uses new methods which results in student complaints, that person is simply not asked to return. I've seen it happen numerous times. The result is bland, circumscribed instruction that fulfills the expectations of students -- just another step in the "student-as-customer" progression.
Simply put, the real threat to academic freedom is adjunctification, which radically weakens an instructor's control of her/his instructional content, even teaching persona, and strengthens students' and administrators' power to get the "product" they want. As an academic, my loyalty is to my discipline, but as an adjunct instructor, every incentive weakens that loyalty in favor of "customer service."